Federal lawmakers say they’re pushing for increased funding in Peoria’s USDA Agricultural Lab.
For the past several years its been a roller coaster ride for some of the plant’s employees. The plant has sat on President’s Trump closure list for the past two years, leaving many employees in limbo.
Friday afternoon Democratic Congresswoman Cheri Bustos and representatives from Republican Congressman Darin LaHood’s office met with employees at Peoria’s Ag Lab.
“We had just been on the closure list for two years,” said Ashley Maness. “It’s just been a good relief so that we can start focusing on other things and not take time out of our day to get funding.”
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle pushed to keep the lab’s doors open.
“If you wanna attract the premier kind of scientists that we need, we gotta stop the unpredictability that the federal government is throwing out there,” said Bustos (D-IL). “That means no more government shut downs.”
“When you think about the Ag Lab and what they do, its about finding new uses for corn, soybeans, and food safety,” said Brad Stotler, District Director from Darin Lahood’s office. “All those things that are important to us.”
The plant is finally off President trump’s closure list and Bustos is now making a vow to those employees.
“We’ll continue to make sure that the research lab is funded,” added Bustos. “I can tell you that I will do everything in my power to resist any future government shut downs, I think they are entirely unnecessary.”
Now lawmakers are setting their sights on a new task.
“There are 23 vacancies [in Peoria’s Ag Lab], the problem is that only three of them are funded to be filled so that’s a problem,“ said Bustos.